Tuesday, February 8, 2011


The Journey to Family Time Line

*1. Get married to your best friend (1993)
*2. Tom enters the family (1994)
*3. Sarah enters the family (1996)
*4. Anna enters the family (2000)
*5. Max enters the family (2003)
*6. Bekah enters the family (2007)
*7 & 8. Gabe and Rachel enter the family (2010)

*9. Our family seeks to bring Jael (Jay-EL/Judges 4) out of China (2011/2012?)

Yes, this is the way a family is formed...through the years, births, leading, travel, and many many prayers.

Some of you may have noticed a name added to the family timeline, our daughter Jael (Jay-EL). Jael is across the world in the well known country of China. There our 2 1/2 year old waits. She has so much personality and has very special needs as well. Her legs don't look like other's legs. They are malformed and, though she is very active, without serious medical intervention she will never walk. An orthopedic specialist here says that both legs will need amputation to allow for prosthesis in the future. This little one not only has a long road to family, but a long medical road to be able to walk and run.

The morning after we knew Jael was our daughter, Anna came in and threw herself on my lap terrified. She said, "Mommy, I had a scary dream. We adopted a little girl from China, who was born different than most kids. She was SO cute. That was the good part. The next part is the scary one. We were on this ship and all these people were trying to come on board and trying to hurt us."

Anna didn't know what we were considering or praying, but God did know what we needed to be reminded of. We would have viewed this differently if it had come from a child who was aware of what God had been revealing, but instead it was our precious Anna.

We know many may be in shock and not have the same sense of joy we do, but we ask for prayers. Below we answer questions from, "How did the come about?" to "Why your family?" to "Do you know you will ACTUALLY have eight children?". Yet, before then we ask you for your prayers, if you feel able to offer them.

*Please pray God's blessing on this adoption.
*Please pray that the Chinese government gives us preliminary approval to adopt Jael. This is VERY important and the first step. We meet all requirements, but are praying that they see our family as a beautiful match to Jael's special needs. (Update: We are approved as of Februrary 9th, 2011!!!)
*Prayers for our home study. As we seek approval to adopt Jael, we also need approval here. We have a wonderful and thorough social worker that wants to insure the welfare of everyone involved (Home study is March 25th). Also, this requires a paperwork and fingerprinting process, which we are praying is quick.
*Prayers for our immigration paperwork and dossier paperwork (which goes to China) to be easy, quick, and faster than we can fathom.
*Prayers that China processes are request quickly and Jael is able to come home with speed we can't imagine.
*Prayers for finances (we don't have quite as far to travel for the needed funds this time), that everything comes together to God's glory and with ease.
*More than the other prayer requests, please pray for our daughter across the world who faces each night alone, not knowing a family awaits her. Please pray that she feels God's presence, God's hedge of protection around her, that her heart is prepared and ready for family, and that Jesus fills her heart and helps her to be ready to attach to her family.
*Please pray that God protects us from satan's attacks. When you follow God, satan always attacks.
*Lastly, please pray for our family, for peace and confidence as we wait and please pray that we see how we need to prepare, if there is something we have overlooked.

Thank you. Many of you have prayed us through beautiful and amazing waves during our path to family. Below the words from our heart, we answer your questions...and thank you again for joining us on this journey.

Jesus Whispered Jael

My friends come and go,
one day here the next day gone.
I feel all alone
never chosen as "the one"

I remain.

My body looks different.
I am special they all say.
Then why do they not choose me?
Why's it not my day?

I remain

I get up in the morning
at the break of day
never knowing who is going
but always knowing I will stay.

It's okay though,
that I remain.

I hear whispers of comfort.
from a man so dear
From a man named Jesus.
whispered in my ear.

It's okay that I remain.

Because God has a plan for me.
A reason I am here.
To see me in a family.
It is worth the cold and tears.

For a little longer I remain.

He tells me that they love me
Across the ocean they pray
for the day that they can hold me
for the day that they can say,

"No longer will you remain."

They say that I am special,
beautiful, and treasured.
They say that I'm a gift,
that could never be measured.

No longer I remain

They say that Jesus whispered
into their hearts as well,
Telling them about me
Their daughter named Jael.

We're coming to get you sweet angel. No longer will you remain.

Questions and Answers

*How did you know? How can you know God called you?

So many times in life, we've heard people say, "I feel called. I feel that God led me." I remember a time where I was listening to an interview with a man saying that God called him to sell clear paint that made it impossible for camera's to take pictures of license plates. Ummmm....

Obviously, when you hear something that goes against Biblical principals, you know that it was man's wish vs. Gods. It's hard, knowing orphans are out there, children who wake up every morning with no one....often neglected or abused. Even if they are loved, they are still without family.

Did you know that twice in the last couple years, we were asked to adopt a baby? Both times, with God's clarity, we knew they were not our child...they belonged to someone else. Often we ask God, "What is your will?" and the most growing times for us both are when we get answers we don't expect and aren't looking for.

Yes, our hearts ache for the fatherless, but this path was one (and the speed of it) that we truly can't comprehend. There was fear, fear that is usually not present in our lives. Fear of going on a path to the unknown again. We had been asking God if Jael (a little girl God put on our hearts) was our daughter and if not, for her to find her forever family. Yet, one day God pressed on us...to the knees. There was no dwelling on it. We asked. God answered. I don't think either of us remotely expected it. There was no denying. We were told to bring her home.

When God leads, we need to go to the Bible first. Yet, all the good paths that we can take are not always the right ones, within God's will for our/your family. We then pray and seek wisdom of others, asking them to pray. Finally, when God leads...you just know with absolute knowledge of His speaking. There is no doubt, rationalization, or puzzle pieces missing from your knowledge.

The hard part is, even though God leads, He led us. It is natural for others who have not been petitioning along with you, to wonder. We expect and accept that. Yet, we firmly believe, that if you petition God as well...He will answer.

*Are you scared about everything that could go wrong?

There are days where fear reigns, but when fears reign...God is not. It's easy to look at the seemingly insurmountable obstacles. What if China doesn't approve us? What if we don't get an approved home study? What if China decides, when they finally receive our intensive paperwork 4-5 months from now, that we aren't suitable. What if we mess up somehow? What if Jael gets sick and we can't help her? What if attachment is more rough than we could ever imagine? What if something goes wrong during Jael's surgery? What if? What if? What if?

We cannot cling to these "what ifs" though. We have to step forward in faith, following God's will for our lives. The "what ifs?" tend to make us more like a deer in the headlights, frozen, than a servant moving forward to follow God.

Does fear crop up, yes...but the prayers for this entire adventure cover Jael and this journey like nothing else. God covers it.

We could wait to share this with all of you...waiting until we have our preliminary approval from China, our home study is approved, or our dossier is together...but we can't. We need to step forward and believe what we've been told. We especially need prayers covering this process every step of the way.

*Why your family?

First and foremost, because she is our daughter. She was meant to join our family. It was in God's plan.

There are an estimated 143,000,000 orphans in this world.

If a pro football stadium holds and average of 80,000 fans. It would take 1,877.5 stadiums to hold the fatherless of this generation.

If an aircraft carrier in the U.S. Navy holds around 5000 people. It would take 29,400 aircraft carriers to hold all of those who live daily without mothers.

It is thought that the largest city in the world is Tokyo, Japan with about 32,450,000. Orphans would fill the streets of about 4.5 cities the size of Tokyo.

They all need love. They all need families. We realize not everyone may be called, but when you are...it would be like leaving your newborn baby in that football stadium. God calls, we answer....

*You have will have eight children, two of which just came home, how is that fair to any of them? How can you give them the attention they deserve?

Gabe and Rachel are doing wonderfully. Yet, we know they are young. We are not looking at adding to our family as easy, but as a beautiful gift from God. Medically, for years, there may be therapies and such necessary for Jael, but (as we explain below) it will most likely be a full year before any surgery. We also recognize transition with a toddler will, most likely, be a lot more difficult. After all, she has acquired language and she doesn't know us. She has more history. She may be very young mentally and need to repeat the most basic foundation of nurturing. Just as with a pregnancy and newborn, you find the perfect nitch in your family for your newest treasure. It may not always be easy, but it's always worth it.

We are a close family. We do most things together, though the teens especially enjoy time with their friends. We have cuddle time, reading, learning in home school, and individual time with our children. Few days/nights go by without deep conversations with one or another of our children. EACH child is given the priority.

We are very cautious with the older ones, that they don't become the parent. Most children in our family know how to change a diaper, but probably less than once or twice a month they do it. They know how to make a bottle. They also go off and do their thing and we as parents...well, parent. They step up when needed, but often they are doing it to get cuddle time with the twins (told you they're a little spoiled...lol). Our children are awesome and helpful, but they are (most importantly) our children, not caretakers.

We know, as with any situation, we cannot foresee the future, the hard lessons, or what we may face. What we can know is that when we do see a situation, we are extremely creative and find a way to work within it. If we need help, we get it. We also have a couple sets of sweet friends and awesome family willing to stand in the gap during medical issues.

Though Jael is two and a half and a year older than the twins, she will most likely be more like a triplet to the twins. She will need a LOT of attention and bonding time. She, as the others did, will sleep in our room for the first year. She will be carried in a sling, along with the twins, but we will always find ways to create time to give every child attention. We are FAR from perfect, but God has always opened our eyes and guided our family.

If some ask, "How is that fair to the other children?" we ask, "How is introducing them to another sister who will love an adore them (in time) a negative thing? It is not about fair, but blessing."

*How can you afford this? You fund raised last time, how can you ask others to do it again?

We are blessed to be a little financially ahead this time, with not quite as much to raise. It currently looks like (we hope) we will have about half already covered. We will apply for grants. There are more out there for special needs children. We also will fundraise to a smaller extent as well.

We have definite view on fundraising in adoption (why?). The best way to describe it is written in the following blog post.

*What do the other children say about this?

Sarah and Tom knew from early on. The first time Sarah saw the picture of Jael, she said, "THAT is my sister." She knew, we prayed. When we informed her what God revealed to us, her response was, "Well, I already knew that. You just didn't believe me."

Tom just smiled really big and said, "WOW!". He is excited and positive. They don't seem concerned, even in the late night revealing of emotions. They just seem concerned about their sister across the world. If you want to see Anna, Max, and Bekah's reaction...you can view it yourself at a future date (we filmed it). They are joyous, with pictures taped by their beds. They remember the illness that we came back from Africa with last time, yet they know our hearts and their hearts become even more filled with love.

They are even excited about changing rooms. Tom, who had a room to himself, is excited. Our kids know they are loved and that all of our love just expands and does not get divided with the increasing blessing.

*What does Jael's medical future hold (as far as you know)?

A local pediatric orthopedic surgeon looked at Jael's file and pictures to let us know what the future might hold. He feels that both legs will need to be amputated. He was wonderful and shared with us that his close friend had the same issue and was able to play football in high school.

We will most likely wait to have surgery until we have had some time to attach. God has blessed us with a family that brought home their child from Korea with, what looks like, the exact same issue. They have shared with us that, surprisingly, the hospital time is limited...only a few days. You then go home for recovery and healing and finally, in a few months, a fitting for prosthetics. They waited a year before having surgery and did not regret it.

*What is your time line? What does the process look like?

We have what's called a "Letter of Intent" in China right now. This is where China issues us preliminary approval. Once we receive preliminary approval(Update: DONE!), we then work on our home study (much paperwork, home visit, fingerprints, and finally praying for an approved home study), dossier (LOTS of very specific paperwork that goes to China), and request approval from the U.S. government. Finally we send the dossier to China. This process usually takes four to five months. At that point the dossier (which now includes the home study) goes to China. The Chinese government then will give us final approval and we wait for travel. The total time line is averaging around a year currently. Jael will be around 3 1/2, most likely, when she comes home. You can see why we are praying for speed.

*Why didn't you tell us you were considering this earlier? Why are we just learning of this?

The prayers for orphans put in front of us have been taking place for a long time, but sweet Jael has only been in our view very recently. Since we've been praying for many sweet little ones, we didn't consider sharing this (as we pray many prayers and have asked this of God before). Our family, close family and children, are only just finding out. This was a surprise to us, as many pregnancies are. Jael is a surprise little blessing of which we don't deserve, but will be eternally thankful.

Please know that we welcome questions, brought in the heart of love. We recognize that we don't fit any "box" that is viewed as a normal family. We don't want to. We have been blessed, throughout our adoptions, to have so many prayers and so much support. Friends and family have supported us, even when they don't completely understand, because they know our hearts are with God and following Him.

"He replied, 'You of little faith, why are you so afraid?' Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm." Matthew 8:26


  1. So very excited for you and this path God is leading you on. I will keep praying!

  2. Soooooo soooooo sooooo excited for y'all!!!

  3. Tears of joy literally running down my cheeks. I'm praying, my friend!

  4. I kid you not. You picked my absolute favorite name for a girl. Have always, always loved that passage. I prayer that your little Jael is a fighter and works to bring about God's will in her life.


  5. Kat,
    I love the name! Our oldest's middle name is Jael. We have learned that it is actually pronounced yah-el. We named her this because to us it means "to do hard things when it is hard, because it is right" and we wanted to leave her this legacy. Do hard things for God. At 13, that is what she does. It is just part of who she is. Great name.
    Congratulations on the new addition.


In the joy of following our Heavenly Father, we sometimes choose to proceed with a whisper, a verse, or a downright shove...no matter how we follow Him, the momentum that follows is like nothing we've ever experienced before.

Join the momentum...it is a beautiful place to be. It's not always easy, but then the best things never are.

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